Tag Archives: harry potter
November 21, 2010 “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”
I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 this past weekend, and the experience brought back waves of nostalgia.
I first heard of the Harry Potter books when I was 11 years old and still attending a French school in Quebec City. It was the spring of 2001, and the first four books in the series had already been released. But with my imperfect French and my peers’ imperfect pronunciation of the English name, I didn’t have a clue of what everyone was talking about. It wasn’t until we moved to Edmonton, Alberta a month later that I finally clued in. Since I was still not fluent in French and I could barely speak English at the time, my most proficient language remained Chinese. So I downloaded the first four books in Chinese and began reading on my home computer. It was a long summer with nothing much else to do in this new city, so my days were spent with my eyes glued to the computer screen, taking in the magic that was Harry Potter. If you ask my mother, she will still blame Harry Potter as the reason my vision got bad and needed glasses the following school year.
I was obsessed. “I’ve changed my name,” I wrote to a friend back in Quebec, “to Hermione” (I was quite serious). “Hermione?” She obviously had not read the books, “I’m not sure I know how to pronounce that” (neither did I, at the time, but that didn’t stop me). I waved around a dowel like a wand, and I was quite sure that I just didn’t know how to master my magic yet. I wore a tiny glass bottle around my neck filled with “magical” glass beads that would grant me wishes. I drew pictures of the characters, printed out quotes (in Chinese) from the books, and visited the official Chinese Harry Potter website religiously every day. I stared dreamily out my window, half expecting an owl to bring me my acceptance letter to Hogwarts. But to my disappointment, it never came.
At the start of fall, we moved again to Langley, British Columbia. My English had improved vastly over the summer, and as soon as I thought I was competent enough, I begged my parents to buy me the books in English. They reluctantly obliged, suspecting that the series was already doing enough damage to my mental state. I read the books every night before going to sleep, sometimes way past my bedtime, dimming my lamp so much that I could barely make out the letters (this probably did contribute to my worsening vision). Since I hadn’t made any friends yet at my new school, I dragged my dad to the theater to see the first movie with me.
I remained a dedicated fan for the years that followed, eagerly awaiting the release of each new book and film. Mugglenet became the website most visited by me, and I even did a short stint translating Harry Potter news into Chinese for the official website I used to frequent. I did more fan art (including a few I’m proud of even today – see below), wrote short fan fictions, and even fan poetry (yes, poetry).
The summer of 2007 was devastating. The book release of the Deathly Hallows and the film release of the Order of the Phoenix came within 10 days of each other, and I had to miss both. I was away at a summer program, and the coordinators were strict about keeping us on campus and focused on the program at all times. A few of us spoke about sneaking out at night to see the movie, but were too scared to be caught to carry out the plan. So as soon as I got home, I went to buy the book (I got the second last copy at the store!) and see the movie. It was the last book, and I told myself to read slowly to savor it, but I couldn’t help but finish it within 2 days (my reading speed when it came to Harry Potter never failed to astonish my mother).
A strange feeling of emptiness washed over me as I turned the last page. I’ve always felt this way when I finish a series of books – Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables – but this time, it was particularly strong. It had been six years since I started the books, and I literally grew up with the characters in them: I was 11 when I began the books and 17 when I finished. Harry Potter was a veritable part of my life, an essential part of my childhood. I knew I could always count on it for an escape when reality got too harsh or mundane. It was a good friend that was there for me at all times, when things got lonely at each new school I attended. Despite my childish attempt to change my name earlier, Hermione remained a role model for me, especially when things got difficult when I was perpetually “the new girl”. She helped me focus on my studies during my adolescence and to learn to pride myself on my intelligence, not my looks. These characters that I grew up with, they were like friends to me, friends that I lost touch with after the books ended, friends whose lives I long to learn about now.
Now there is only one more film left before it’s all over. By the time the Part 2 of the Deathly Hallows is released next summer, it will have been a full ten years since I was first introduced to the world of Harry Potter. Ten years. It’s incredible how a mere story can stay with you for half your life. At the same time that I’m anticipating the release of the last movie, I can’t help but feel a bit of sadness to see it all come to an end. But I know that it won’t be over: all seven books are still sitting in a neat row on my bookshelf back home, waiting for me to open them, turn their pages, dive into the timeless adventures. Harry Potter is timeless. And that’s the magic of it all.
I had THE MOST FANTASTIC dream last night. So I had to write it down, though words really can’t capture the amazing imagery of dreams (I don’t think anything can). I know that the better half of the story make absolutely no sense, but this is how it went.
It was another one of the Harry Potter-ish dreams (yes, I have those once in a while, don’t judge, I can’t control it). As per usual, I was Hermione. So the dream began somewhere in a dungeon like place at night, where Harry, Ron, and I were held captive and were trying to break out before Harry was supposed to be taken away and executed at midnight. We succeeded somehow in the nick of time and escaped through the corridor between Hartley and Wallach (Columbia turned into Hogwarts?).
We ran and ran across this field, and finally found this giant pumpkin underground to hide in (I don’t know how we got inside the pumpkin, magic I guess?). So we were in there, hoping that the bad guys (Death Eaters?) don’t find us, when I suddenly went, “hey wait a minute, isn’t Yale’s graduation today?” I have no idea why they needed the pumpkin for that, but they did need it for whatever special ritual in their commencement ceremonies. So we had to get out of the pumpkin through layers of squishy and bubbly stuff.
So we began to run again, still across the field, being chased. We jumped over this wooden fence and ran into the woods, where one of the boys (Harry I think?) fell down and got tangled up with trees fallen all over him. So we stopped to help him up and kept running. Dawn was beginning to break now, and we ran to this clearing in the woods where there was this huge, beautiful pool surrounded by mist. Fairy-like creatures were bathing and swimming around in it. The pool was magic, and we could run across the surface of the water. The fairy people complained that we were polluting the pool at first (maybe from the pumpkin gunk?), but then didn’t really care after a while. We could fly over the pool, and swim in it. But we could breathe and see under the water, and it was the most amazing feeling ever. The magic pool was protected by the mist so we could forget about the people chasing us. I saw one of my suite-mates from last year in the pool too, so I said hi to him, and he said “see? Didn’t I tell you this is the best place to swim?” I wholehearted agreed.
After a bit of this pleasantry, Tyra Banks (WTF) showed up and made everyone get out of the pool because she needed it for ANTM (WTF). So much for being protected from Death Eaters. So we kept walking, until we came to what was like the very edge of the magical world. Which was a long glass wall with doors, which surrounded the entire magical kingdom almost like a greenhouse. We could see a different place behind the glass, but we didn’t know what it was. We asked someone what that place was, but s/he told us that this is the edge of this world, and nobody had gone beyond it. We decided to try it, since there didn’t seem to be any better alternatives.
We opened one of the doors and went though. The world on the other side was breathtakingly beautiful and wonderful. I knew where we were. “Wonderland,” I whispered in awe. Yes, we were in a different magical world; we were in Wonderland. We saw Alice there, and we saw a beautiful Laguna Beach at sunset there too (huh? I’ve never even been to Laguna Beach). The imagery was akin to those of heaven depicted in the movie The Lovely Bones crossed with Tim Burton’s Wonderland. We had a fun time looking around, when we realized that the people on the other side could still see us across the glass wall. But instead of people, we looked like miniature creatures, like ants, in a display case to them. So Wonderland, in a sense, existed as displays to the other side. We got scared that we would be found, so another way to hide had to be found.
The details of the dream began to get fuzzy at this point, but I think in the end the idea was to hide in the magical world of Lord of the Rings.
I don’t know what I did differently last night, but I would love to have such wonderful dreams every night. Maybe I should consult my CC professor last semester, a psychiatrist turned philosopher with a record of recreational drug use who proclaim to have fantastic dreams. Hmm.
And by magic, I am, of course, referring to Harry Potter. Finally saw the new movie today (I know, how dare I, a full 39 hours after it was released). It was pretty awesome :) Best part hands down: when Harry was on the Felix Felices. I haven’t laughed that hard in a movie in a while. Also had my first bubble tea since I’ve been back home. I had the pina colada, which reminded me of Cancun, which in turn really made me wish I was sitting on a beach, which I will be in a few weeks!
Last day at the lab tomorrow… full day of experiments to do. And I still have not finished the paper I was supposed to write (just like when I was in school). Dinner at Boston Pizza tomorrow night though :)
Speaking of school, if you study in the library a lot, check out this really cute t-shirt from Forever 21 (they’re opening a store in Metrotown!): [link] Hahah I want one now.
And something else to share… this one is for all the SEAS guys and gals who had to go through Gateway: [link]